14 June 2024

RCP responds to Conservative party manifesto

Conservatives Logo (1)

In response, Dr Mumtaz Patel, vice president for education and training of the Royal College of Physicians, said:  

“We currently face a dire situation where many dedicated NHS staff feel unable to work in a health service which simply doesn’t work for them.  We welcome the Conservative party’s pledge to improve working conditions for all NHS staff, but the devil will be in the detail.  

“Whoever forms the next government must take clear action to get the basics right, adopting a zero-tolerance stance on bullying and harassment, and ensuring flexible and supportive environments where physicians have protected time for career development, education, research and quality improvement.  

“While it is positive to see the Conservative manifesto talk about recruiting more doctors, we need to ensure we have the right number needed in the right places to meet demand both now and in years to come.  

“The next government must fund and implement the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan commitments: doubling the number of medical school places, expanding the number of postgraduate training places based on population need, and refreshing independent staffing projections every two years. Medical workforce planning is in dire need of attention: we must focus on retaining and valuing our staff and improving their working environments. 

“Our workforce can only be as effective as the environment they work in. Many physicians are frustrated with the quality of basic IT equipment, so the manifesto commitment to invest in technology to transform outdated NHS systems is a welcome one. Bringing the NHS system up to date will free up physicians’ time and ultimately improve outcomes and experiences for patients. 

Professor Ramesh Arasaradnam, academic vice president with public health in his officer portfolio, continued: 

“We are clear that we need a proactive, preventative approach to ill health. We strongly welcome the commitment to bring back the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which will help to eradicate smoking – the leading cause of death in the UK – as well as pledges to restrict the advertising of high fat, salt and sugar foods to tackle rising rates of obesity.  

“By 2040, it’s projected that 1 in 5 adults in England will live with a significant health condition such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes. We welcome the commitment to publish the Major Conditions Strategy – but to truly turn dial on prevention, tackling the causes of ill health must be made the responsibility of all of government, not just the department of health and social care. 

“The RCP has consistently called for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities that tackles the wider determinants of health such as housing, air quality, employment (including how much money you have) and the lack of availability of healthy food. We need commitments from all parties to pull at every policy lever available to tackle this issue. A healthy nation is an economic asset and currently, too many people are becoming avoidably sick in the first place. The next government’s policies must reflect this reality.”